Soundbyte 320 – October 2021

ChristopherNews, SoundByte

Welcome to Soundbyte. In this issue:

  • October meeting
  • No more S models, the iPhone 13
  • iPad Mini gets a new design
  • Is this the watch you were waiting for?
  • Software Update: iPad and iOS 15!
  • Facebook’s video glasses
  • Spyware patched on the iPhone and other news
  • What is your location worth?
  • Will Apple be forced to ditch lightning?
  • Sir Clive Sinclair 1940-2021
  • Offers for users

October Meeting

Join us online (or in person) this Monday at 7pm, for our October Meeting. We will be presenting a NewsByte extra, covering and discussing all the products Apple announced in their September special event.

We will be broadcasting the meeting over Zoom (check the email for the link) from the George and Monkey pub, 68 Amwell Street, Islington, London, EC1R 1UU (map below). It’s just 10 minutes walk from Angel tube station on the Northern Line. For those joining us, we will host a raffle for a USB stick that is tiny in size, but can hold 16GB of data. Please joins us if you can, look for us on the ground floor back room.

No more S models: the iPhone 13

On schedule, Apple announced the new iPhone last month. Apple’s traditional rhythm of phone releases have been tick-tock-tick e.g. the iPhone 4, then 4S, 5, then 5S. Each number change indicating a re-design. This left the rails after the X and XS. The next year, Apple released an 11 and 11 Pro that looked similar to the X and XS. Was that a tick or a tock-tock? The design didn’t change, suggesting a tock and then iPhone 12, with its radical re-design the following year, was clearly a tick. So this year, expectation was for a tock similar to the old S models: same design on the outside, but redesigned on the inside. Apple delivered.

Rather than a 12S, it is called iPhone 13 (and mini) and the 13 Pro (and max). Apple likely dropped the S moniker for marketing reasons. Perhaps consumers assumed that the S models were just a minor update, but some are still rankling at the marketing mirrors around an iPhone 13 that looks almost identical to last year’s iPhone 12.

Of course, they are mostly wrong and some consumers still queue up to get their iPhones first, whatever the number. As expected, the internals have indeed been redesigned. This starts with a new processor, the A15, where Apple has focused this year not so much on performance as efficiency, delivering hours of extra battery life each day. The iPhone 13 Pro also gets Apple’s Pro-Motion technology for highly responsive gaming and scrolling at 120hz. All the iPhones get a new video mode called Cinematic which smartly switches focus to whoever is looking at the camera – just like in the movies! And here is a short movie that Apple made to demonstrate this:

All the cameras have significant upgrades.The iPhone 13 inherits the big main cameras from the iPhone 12 Pro Max last year. The iPhone 13 Pro has all-new cameras with increased sensitivity in low light, including a 3x telephoto that can deliver professional style portraits and astonishing macro photography. The Pro also gains the ability to record video in the professional ProRes format. Apple would like you to think that the iPhone 13 Pro is now good enough for actual movie making.

IPad Mini gets a new design

The iPad Mini has received a major redesign. It’s now essentially a mini iPad Air with flat sides and an edge-to-edge screen. There is no home button and the TouchID fingerprint reader is now in the power button. It gets a major power bump as it has the latest A15 chip on board. In their intro video, Apple shared that the Mini is popular with Pilots and Doctors, fancy that.

The base iPad was also upgraded with more storage, starting at 64GB now and a faster A13 chip. It also gained a ‘Centre Stage’ front camera that can track you, keeping you in frame during video calls. This feature is also found on the new IPad Pro, the new iMac and the new iPad Mini. This short video below explains it:

Is this the watch you were waiting for?

In a major shock for the Apple rumour industry, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch series 7 with new colours, a new bigger and stronger screen, faster charging but no major re-design (tock-tock-tock – ED). Details were scant at the launch, but you can read them all on 9to5mac here.

Software Update: IPad and iOS15

A major OS update for iPhones (back to 6S) and iPads had dropped. IOS15 includes changes to widgets, safari, iCloud, Maps; FaceTime with Android users and much much more. This video highlights some new features you might need to know about:

This one focuses on hidden features you might miss:

FaceBook’s video glasses

FaceBook Glasses by Ray-Ban

Do you remember the FaceBook phone? The privacy loving social media company (joke – ED) is back with glasses with cameras hidden inside them. They teamed up with Ray-Ban to make them look nice. Click the image above to access the BBC’s review. It is still in development. Let’s see how popular or unpopular it gets.

Speaking of popular, Samsung paid/teamed up with a popular YouTuber to make a special ad for their flip phone. You might want to sit down for this one.

Spyware patched on the iPhone and other news

Lots of news this month on hacks and patches. First a hack targeting iMessage was patched quickly in iOS 14.8. Another potential flaw has been found in Apple Pay, but Apple thinks this is unlikely to occur in the real world. In some good news, Apple is now allowing users to report scam apps from the App Store, read the Verge for details. Further, if you are concerned about the privacy of your back-up, when upgrading your iPhone, read this article on how to protect it.

What is your location worth?

Location data being monetised

A lot, it turns out. If you’re interested, have a read of this article that describes the massive hidden market for location data.

Will Apple be forced to ditch lightning?

The European Union is taking steps to harmonise chargers. They are proposing that all devices charge using USB-C. USB-C is becoming ubiquitous in phones, cameras and other peripherals with one major exception, the iPhone. Apple say this change will stifle innovation. It might in the future, although there is no indication that the EU wouldn’t change the requirement if a new connector become ubiquitous in the next decade. This also might be a weak argument, given the lightning connector is now 13 years old!

Sir Clive Sinclair 1940-2021

Sinclair ZX Spectrum, 1982

Tributes have been left for the British technology entrepreneur Clive Sinclair, creator of the ZX Spectrum computer, who died recently. You can read his obituary in the Guardian here. The Spectrum was not Sinclair’s final computer, you can see what that was, in this video retrospective below:

Offers for users

Please find below the special discounts and offers for our paying members.

Note in particular the 1Password discount below . This will be relevant to you if you want to use the new iOS 15 safari plug-in, in iOS and iPad OS for 1Password. This plug-in requires a paid account.

Members can access these through the members section of the website:

  • Free Lessons for Apple User Groups from Dan’s Tutorials
  • Eve Products: 25% Discount
  • TechTool Pro: 50% Discount
  • AgileBits 1Password 7: 25% Discount
  • MacCleanse 8 Software: 20% Discount
  • EverWeb by RAGE Software: 50% Discount 
  • Opus ][ Complete Collection: 25% Discount
  • Que Publishing Products: 35-45% Discount
  • Take Control Books: 30% Discount on All eBooks
  • Teams ID, a Password Manager for Teams: 33% Discount
  • TidBITS Content Network for Apple professionals: Get a free month of tips and articles!